Two years ago, she had a heart attack and found it hard to stay away from the work she loves and excels at. She is back now, getting up at 6 every morning to go and look after her many devoted patients at the family practice she set up 40 years ago. She was always a proud American; she has a flag fluttering outside her house.
I'm trying to find the right words to say before phoning her.
In 2004, when George W. Bush was re-elected, a number of disillusioned US citizens moved to the UK. Today there are more Americans living in the UK
(212,150) than there are Jamaicans (172,829), according to UN figures. I wonder how many more will now follow.
Several Muslims I know have been in the United States for decades. Some are successful professionals and business folk; others drive cabs or do low-paid jobs. It was never easy being a Muslim in that fervently Christian country, but they were resilient and grateful for the opportunities they had.
I made a Channel 4 documentary in 1996 on the Oklahoma City bombing
. The bomber was a white American extremist
, but several interviewees believed Muslims were to blame. The home of an Iraqi couple who had fled Saddam Hussein's Iraq was attacked. She miscarried. One senator told me: "It wasn't an Ali or Mohammed this time, but it could have been."
The paranoia was affirmed when terrorists struck on 9/11, and life got harder still for American Muslims. They got better organized and politicized. One of them, a millionaire and second-generation American explained: "We thought being quiet, hard-working and invisible would be enough. But no. We have to mobilize to stand up. America was a country made by people escaping religious persecution." His wife is Jewish and an activist. On Wednesday, he rang me with all his strength drained: "This is a disaster. It's over. But where can we go?"
In 2000, about 70% of American Muslims voted Republican
. Donald Trump maligned these loyal citizens and promised to ban their co-religionists from the country. He was even contemptuous of the parents of Humayun Khan
, a soldier killed in action in Iraq.
You do get pleasers such as Sajid Tarar
, founder of American Muslims for Trump. But most other Muslims feel they have suddenly been deprived of their rightful place in this multifarious nation.
After 9/11, I didn't go to the United States for several years because I was warned privately by some influential people that I, being outspoken and Muslim, was on some blacklist. I never knew for sure but stayed away. Now I must stay away because of pride (mine) and prejudice (theirs). America is no country for Muslims, Hispanics, feminists or African-Americans.